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Developing the Changes in Attitude about the Relevance of Science



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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN SCIENCE TEACHING VOL 40 NO 8 PP 757 775 2003 Developing the Changes in Attitude about the Relevance of Science CARS Questionnaire and Assessing Two High School Science Classes Marcelle A Siegel 1 Michael A Ranney2 1 2 Lawrence Hall of Science 5200 University of California Berkeley California 94720 5200 Graduate School of Education University of California Berkeley California 94720 1670 Received 28 January 2002 Accepted 12 November 2002 Abstract This study has two purposes a methodological to design and test a new instrument able to reflect changes in attitudes toward science over time and b investigative to find out the effect of two similar curricular treatments on the attitudes of two classes Items about the relevance of science to students lives were developed pilot tested and analyzed using Rasch modeling We then divided reliable items into three equivalent questionnaire forms The final three forms of the questionnaire were used to assess high school students attitudes Over 18 weeks one class used a core curriculum Science and Sustainability to learn science in the context of making decisions about societal issues A second class used the same core curriculum but with parts replaced by computer based activities Convince Me designed to enhance the coherence of students arguments Using traditional and Rasch modeling techniques we assessed the degrees to which such instructional activities promoted students beliefs that science is relevant to them Both classes tended to agree more over time that science is relevant to their lives and the increases were statistically equivalent between classes This study suggests that by using innovative issue based activities it is possible to enhance students attitudes about the relevance of science 2003 Wiley Periodicals Inc J Res Sci Teach 40 757 775 2003 Rose colored glasses Half full or half empty Such sayings remind us of the effect that one s attitude can have on one s experience Ranney 1996 In the



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